Railroad Will

Cuba is a long and narrow island, with discrete mountain ranges along the coasts, ideal conditions for a good railroad. We were pioneers in this invention and being a colony of Spain, we had it before the metropolis. We should have an excellent rail network, it is an economic means of transport, ideal for the conditions of our poor country.

For many years the rail service has been awful. The trains are almost never depart or arrive on time, to the point of adding hours to a trip the farther it goes. Using the parcel service is to risk losing the contents of the package, whether by loss or damage, especially with food.

Once in the dark train cars, the bathrooms stink, the snacks are third class, I recall that you can travel in local currency, if you want a better offer, it’s in in foreign currency. You have to get used to the speed reductions, frequent stops and being shunted to sidings.

The condition of the roads has led to some very powerful and publicized locomotives, acquired from the People’s Republic of China, that can barely run at 30 kilometers per hour.

As already announced, 6,000 kilometers of roads will be rehabbed in the next three years. Elementary arithmetic tells me that fto accomplish that goal 5.5 km must be completed every day per day, a more frenetic pace than the train. The new vice president, Lussón, is the one who is going to resolve this complex issue of recovering the railway. He has experience in the field, as a young man he served as Minister of Transport. I wonder why it hasn’t been maintained all these years?

Fresh Air

The first time I heard of Carmelo Mesa Lago, he was a Cubanologist seconded to a Center of Diversionary Political Ideology as it was called at the university where Mesa Lago was a researcher in the ’80s. A very dangerous man as I recall. Years later I met Mesa Lago again in his collaborations with the magazine Encounter. Reading it, I understood his bad reputation of old. He is a diligent researcher with serious scientific method and data, necessary to reconstruct the map of the Cuban economy and an essential reference for scholars within and outside Cuba.

Just two weeks ago Carmelo Mesa Lago was in Havana. It seems that as part of the visit of Monsignor Mamberti, they authorized his visit Cuba. They didnt’ want to tell the Church no. At the Fernando Ortiz Foundation, Mesa Lago touched on interesting themes, among others, the need for dialogue, and of having partners for this dialogue. Like one who doesn’t want things, he talked about an issue that will occupy us in the future: dialogue among all Cubans. And that dialogue must be use the colloquial language spoken by siblings after they have gone a long time without seeing each other. Thank you very much to Carmelo Mesa Lago. For its part, the proposal is made.

Here Comes the Wolf! / Regina Coyula

My neighbor Tomás is very concerned because he just found out that a new war is coming. The newspaper on Tuesday June 29, confirmed his suspicions of Friday. According to his reading the imperialists will use the World Cup to fall on Iran*. He doesn’t doubt it, as Fidel warns of it in two of his regular columns, which are titled “Reflections.” Tomás does not ask why he wasn’t aware of such serious news until now, despite the fact that the initial incidents did not occur last week but much earlier, but these incidents have passed through our information sources with a very low-profile because they involved leaders friendly to the Cuban government.

Now that tempers have heated up they warn us of imminent war. People better informed than I am are astonished because the war is not in any of the news from other parts of the world (well, I guess in Iran and North Korea they don’t talk of anything else). My neighbor Tomás’s concern is how the war would affect us, for he, God in Heaven and Fidel on Earth, also according to his own words, Fidel has never been wrong about external politics, and he adds sadly, “It’s unfortunate that it hasn’t been the same with regards to internal things affecting us.”

*Translator’s note: More precisely, Fidel has been saying — in his newspaper column — that there will be a global nuclear war before the end of the World Cup in South Africa.

Damages

In a case of total amnesia, my PC remembers nothing of what I had on its hard drive because a virus duplicated all the archives until it broke the machine. In a normal country, this wouldn’t be so serious, but in mine the results are catastrophic. I lost all the texts I’ve written for the blog; I lost all my photographs… my photos!!!, my addresses and letters, but on I go, looking at my reality through bifocals.